Frequently Asked Fertility Questions

We have compiled a list of answers to common fertility questions that we are frequently asked in our practice. General  infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, and assisted reproduction are common areas that come up.

About Fertility Associates of Memphis

Q: How do I make an appointment?
A: Please visit our New Patient page for instructions and forms.

Q: Where are you located?
A: Our main office is in East Memphis in Suite 307, 80 Humphreys Center on the Baptist Hospital campus. Click here for directions.

Q: Do you accept all insurance plans?
A: We are ‘in network’ for many third party insurance plans. Although several insurance plans have no infertility treatment coverage, some will allow testing to determine the diagnosis. If we are not in your insurance network, we will be happy to provide you with a schedule of our fees. Please contact our patient account representatives to determine if your insurance will provide benefits.

Q: Is Memphis Fertility Laboratory, Inc the same as Fertility Associates of Memphis, PLLC?
A: Memphis Fertility Laboratory, Inc (MFL) is a separate diagnostic laboratory specializing in embryology, andrology and other reproductive testing. MFL also offers sperm and embryo cryopreservation (freezing) and storage facilities. It is accredited by the College of American Pathologists and the State of Tennessee as a CLIA-compliant laboratory. MFL is the only laboratory in the Mid-South that offers specialized reproductive testing. There is a location at Suite 307, 80 Humphreys Center which it shares with Fertility Associates of Memphis. Drs. Kutteh and Ke retain a financial interest in MFL.

Q: How does my husband make an appointment for a semen analysis (sperm count)?
A: Please visit the Patient Information Sheet on Semen Analysis. Directions to Memphis Fertility Laboratory can be found here.

General Fertility Questions

Q: When should a couple consult an infertility doctor?
A: Any couple who has not successfully conceived after 12 months of unprotected intercourse should go on to a full infertility evaluation. Some experts believe that the evaluation should be performed after only 6 months of trying with any therapy delayed until 12 months have passed. The basic infertility evaluation falls into three general areas:

– Does the woman ovulate (release an egg)?
– Does the man produce normal sperm?
– Is the woman’s reproductive tract normal so that egg and sperm can meet?

Ovulation is confirmed by a series of hormonal measurements. It should determine not only if a woman is releasing an egg but also how well she is ovulating. A semen analysis (or sperm count) is still the standard test to determine male fertility. The results depend upon the skill and experience of the laboratory, but it is the simplest test available. Other tests of sperm function are much more complicated and expensive. While a woman’s reproductive tract can be imaged in several ways, we are most interested in whether her fallopian tubes are ‘open’. The simplest way to do this is through the hysterosalpingogram (HSG or ‘dye’) test. It is also very good at picking up problems inside the uterus. The test is somewhat uncomfortable but relatively safe and should last no more than 15 min. A special type of vaginal ultrasound called a sonohysterogram is also being used for infertility evaluation. It involves injecting a fluid into your uterus while performing an ultrasound test. This procedure is new and should only be performed by experienced physicians.

The tests discussed above are all basic evaluations, which every infertile couple should undergo. Doing only one of them doesn’t help very much and can lead to further frustration when the problem is eventually discovered. Only through comprehensive and early testing, can we gain the knowledge about the disease. Once the diagnosis is made the couple can then determine the pace and course of appropriate therapy.

Q: What qualifications do infertility doctors have?
A Most physicians who have an active interest in infertility are either trained in obstetrics/gynecology or urology. In the United States – for no other reason than tradition – women with infertility have usually consulted their Ob/Gyn doctor first. A board-certified Ob/Gyn should be able to carry out a basic infertility evaluation and may initiate medical or surgical therapy if he/she is experienced in that area. Reproductive endocrinology is the subspecialty of gynecology that specifically covers infertility and other reproductive disorders. Board-certified reproductive endocrinologists not only have to be board-certified first in general Ob/Gyn, but then they also complete a three year fellowship in order to be eligible to take a written and oral examination for their subspecialty certificate. Reproductive endocrinologists are trained in the medical and surgical treatment of infertility as well as assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization. Many also are qualified (through extra certification) to perform or direct infertility laboratory procedures. In the United States, most reproductive endocrinologists belong to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

Q: I have recently remarried. Can my tubal ligation be reversed or repaired so that I can get pregnant again?
A: A surgical reversal of your tubal ligation is the traditional treatment for a woman who wants to resume fertility after a tubal ligation. However, its success depends on several factors, such as the type of tubal ligation originally performed and age of the woman. Generally, 50 to 80% of patients conceive within the 12 months following the procedure. Issues to think about are the relatively high risk of tubal (ectopic) pregnancy (1 in 10 pregnancies) and the need for future contraception. For more information, see our article about tubal ligation reversal.

If your tubes cannot be reversed or if there are other factors, then in vitro fertilization (IVF) is your best option.

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Questions

Q: What is ART?
A: Assisted reproductive technologies, or ART, are a group of infertility treatments in which the wife’s eggs and husband’s sperm are combined outside the female reproductive tract in carefully controlled laboratory conditions. The procedures allow for optimal fertilization and growing environments to be available. These treatments are the most effective treatment available for human infertility. Click here for more information on ART.

Q: Is IVF an ART treatment?
A Yes it is. In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is the most common form of ART performed in the United States.

Q: What are the success rates of ART?
A: Click here for our current statistics. The specialists at Fertility Associates of Memphis have consistently outpaced national averages for success rates in all forms of ART procedures. Success rates vary widely at different clinics and can be somewhat confusing. Make sure you understand how the rates (or percentages) are calculated and make sure the rates are applicable to you. A comparison of success rates between different clinics may not be meaningful because patient medical characteristics and treatment approaches vary from clinic to clinic. Please discuss your individual prognosis with your provider before starting therapy.